"Washington, D.C., is such a beautiful city, particularly in the spring as the trees begin to bud with the cherry blossoms," Bank says. "With the city's rich and historical background, its diverse culture and the international atmosphere, it's a great city in which to live and work."
As a lobbyist for the University, Bank represents U-M on a number of important issues, including charitable tax, pension, visa and immigration policies as they relate to higher education.
The U-M office was one of the first university-affiliated branches to open in D.C. in 1990. Congress works on a large number issues that impact the University. Office staff members work closely with the Michigan congressional delegation, other university representatives, and higher education and research associations to influence legislative decisions that may affect U-M educational and research missions.
Bank, who grew up just outside of Detroit in Oakland County, relocated to Washington after graduating from U-M in 1982 with a degree from the School of Natural Resources. She worked at several nonprofit agencies and companies before getting a job with the University.
"I had always been very involved and active in the D.C.-affiliated Alumni Club," Bank says, adding she was a liaison for the club's Congressional Breakfast Committee. While serving in that role in 1995, she learned of the open position and applied. "I love coming into work every day and representing the University because I truly believe what I'm doing will improve campus and student life," she says.
Bank can't recall a bad moment working in the office. One of her most memorable days on the job involved Bo Schembechler, beloved Michigan football coach who died in November.
"The NCAA had arranged a day to spend on the Hill with Bo Schembechler to promote legislation that would close a loophole that currently exists in law allowing gambling on college sports (bets can only be placed in Nevada)," Bank recalls.
"Bo was struck by all the attention he received; at one point he said to me 'I can't believe people still care so much about me!' It was a truly inspiring and heartfelt day, encompassing what the Michigan spirit is all about. It was especially emotional for me because I attended the University while he was still head coach."
The office reflects the same Michigan spirit. A wall poster depicts the U-M solar car crossing the Canadian border; another illustrates the different libraries on campus. Staff members collect artwork that depicts the Ann Arbor atmosphere and they rely on people to send updated campus posters.
A Big 10 atmosphere exists in the building as well. Located next door is the Michigan State University Washington, D.C., Office. The Big 10 federal relations officers meet once a month in the U-M office as well.
Bank lives in Chevy Chase, Md., with husband Richard, who owns a travel agency, and son Matthew, 9, a fourth-grader who already knows what he wants to do with his life: attend the University where he'll play baseball and after graduation play for the Detroit Tigers. Bank spends much of her free time with Matthew and his activities.